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HR Assessments: A Key Element of Your Org’s HR Success

Imagine this: Your mid-sized organization is known for its innovation and customer-centric approach. But you suddenly find yourself dealing with unexplained high turnover rates and declining employee engagement and morale.

Human Resources (HR) and leadership have observed these troubling trends and want to reexamine the organization’s HR policies and practices to ensure cultural alignment. However, such a deep dive takes time, and now they’re focused on filling vacant positions and managing day-to-day employee relations management tasks.

So, what is your organization to do?

The answer lies in partnering with an external HR consultant to conduct a comprehensive HR Assessment. This involves reviewing your organization’s tactical and strategic HR policies, programs and practices, and initiatives to pinpoint areas for improvement to pave the way for sustainable growth, enhanced employee well-being, and organizational success.

To help you get started, we’ve compiled this guide that will cover the following:

Your organization’s HR practices have a significant impact on its health and continued growth. Periodic HR Assessments can help you see how HR fits into your broader strategic goals and manage your people more effectively, strengthening your organization as a whole. Let’s begin.Click through to learn more about working with RealHR Solutions to get an HR Assessment.

HR Assessments: Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re a business leader, HR professional, or seeking to examine HR’s impact on organizational effectiveness, these frequently asked questions about HR Assessments will provide the essential background information you need to understand their importance.

What is an HR Assessment?

This image and the text below define the term HR Assessment.An HR Assessment is a comprehensive review and evaluation of the human resources services that are delivered to an organization. 

Specifically, an HR Assessment:

  • Provides a strategic and operational analysis of existing workplace programs and practices and evaluates their effectiveness
  • Evaluates the structures and competencies of an HR department’s workflow, roles, and responsibilities
  • Addresses the strengths and gaps in service and how those services align with the needs of the employees and the goals of the organization
  • Provides actionable recommendations for measurable change and best practices

HR Assessments vs. HR Audits

In your HR Assessment research, you’ll likely come across the term HR Audit. Though they may seem similar, the two types of evaluations are quite different.

This image describes the differences between an HR Audit and an HR Assessment, which are explained in the text below.

  • Audits focus on specific aspects of an organization’s HR operations (like the recruitment process or performance reviews) to identify compliance issues and policy gaps that need addressing.
  • Assessments are much broader in scope, looking at all of your HR practices. These not only encompass compliance and liability concerns but also how well all the elements of your policies, programs, and practices work together to support organizational goals.

Why conduct an HR Assessment?

An HR Assessment allows you to determine whether HR needs are being met. When you conduct an HR Assessment, you’ll typically look into:

Alignment with Organizational Mission, Vision, and Values

  • Employees expect your organization’s larger mission and vision and the values it claims to operate by to be more than just words on paper. When your HR policies, practices, and programs align with these foundational philosophies, you’ll boost employee engagement, attract the right talent, and promote ethical behavior.
  • Focusing on your mission, vision, and values has the bonus of enhancing your reputation among your community and customer or constituent base.

Equitable and Consistent Policies and Practices

  • Fair and consistent organization-driven HR policies and practices are important and can measurably increase morale, performance, and employee satisfaction.
  • Conversely, policy inconsistencies can be interpreted as inequitable, biased, and showing favoritism.

Inventory of HR Programs

  • The importance of the quality of HR programs provided to an organization and supported by senior leadership cannot be stressed enough. An inventory of HR programs should include:
    • Recruitment, hiring, and onboarding processes
    • Performance management
    • Employee development and training
    • Compliance and equity of salary and benefits
    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for all existing and prospective employees
  • Where these programs and practices exist, organizations should evaluate the quality of service. Where they do not exist, organizations should consider developing these programs with the understanding that they can impact employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention.

HR Skills, Expertise, and Resources

  • If there are gaps in service delivery, it may be a result of HR skill or competency deficiencies among team members that could require further education, reorganization, or possibly replacing staff.
  • It may also uncover a need for additional education, more resources, and a need to implement/upgrade HR-related technology.

Conducting an HR Assessment and making changes based on the results and recommendations given will create trust and confidence in the HR function and the organization’s commitment to improving its practices.

When should you conduct an HR Assessment?

Conducting an HR Assessment every few years to evaluate your HR programs’ effectiveness in supporting organizational goals, boosting employee satisfaction and productivity, and creating a stronger and healthier culture is best practice.

Beyond this, multiple other situations may prompt an HR Assessment, such as:

  • A concern and desire to ensure HR programs are meeting organizational needs and are delivered efficiently and effectively
  • Significant HR regulatory changes that impact or are impacting policies and practices
  • The number of employees or growth in the organization passes a certain threshold, and there is concern about the knowledge base/experience and overextending existing staff
  • A change in leadership or organizational structure
  • Due diligence after a merger or acquisition

Can I conduct an HR Assessment on my own?

Yes. It is possible for an organization to conduct an HR Assessment on its own, depending on the expertise and resources available.

However, it is important to note that conducting a thorough and unbiased Assessment is complex and requires an in-depth understanding of HR best practices and an objective perspective.

By bringing in an external HR consultant to conduct the Assessment, you gain a fresh viewpoint. Other benefits include:

  • Leveraging their expertise to generate measurable results and actionable recommendations
  • Identifying potential blind spots
  • Mitigating biases
  • Gaining objective insights from your employees

While partnering with an HR consulting firm for an Assessment will require a financial investment, you’ll find that the return on investment (ROI) is significant. You’ll have access to truly valuable insights and tailored recommendations, as well as assistance in putting those recommendations into action.
Click here to learn more about RealHR Solutions, a leading provider of HR Assessments.

How to Conduct an HR Assessment: 8 Steps

To get started with your own HR Assessment, follow these steps:

1. Determine your organization’s need for an HR Assessment.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long ago was your last comprehensive HR Assessment?
  • How recently have you evaluated specific elements of your HR practices?
  • Are you encountering any chronic HR issues or growing pains? Are there specific gaps or problems you want to analyze?
  • Do you understand how the separate elements of your HR practices fit into the bigger picture and support your organization’s goals?
  • How do employees feel about your current HR practices?

2. Determine your HR needs and goals.

If your answers to the questions above indicate that your organization would likely benefit from an Assessment, you can start thinking through your exact needs and goals. For instance, you may want to:

  • Enhance the efficiency and quality of your recruitment process
  • Improve your employee retention rates
  • Boost employee satisfaction, morale, and productivity
  • Develop leadership and management skills
  • Ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations
  • Refine your performance management process
  • Foster a diverse and inclusive culture

You may have one or more of these goals, or a different goal entirely, depending on what is going on at your organization. Whatever your specific goals may be, let them be the guiding light throughout the Assessment process.

3. Consider partnering with an HR consultant for the Assessment.

Remember, HR Assessments can be conducted internally, but you must have a well-prepared HR team ready to handle the process objectively.

If your HR department is not currently in a position to handle the Assessment on its own, it’s worth it to look into working with an HR consulting firm.  To ensure you hire the right consultant who can serve as a true partner to your organization, follow these steps:

This image and the text below describe the process of hiring an HR consultant for services like an HR Assessment.

  • Identify your needs and goals for working with a consultant.
  • Determine your budget and establish your timeline for the engagement.
  • Conduct research and ask colleagues for referrals.
  • Hold an initial consultation with shortlisted candidates to get a feel for how well they understand your organization and its Assessment needs.
  • Request a proposal outlining your Assessment project and review the finished product thoroughly.
  • Evaluate each consultant’s fit and compatibility with your organization.
  • Execute a contract.
  • Begin your partnership, setting clear expectations for reporting and updates for the Assessment.
  • Prioritize ongoing collaboration and communication throughout the Assessment.
  • Build a long-term relationship with your consultant so that you have someone to turn to for future HR needs.

Click through to check out our list of top HR consulting firms that can help you with an HR Assessment!

4. Ensure you have the tools and resources you need for the Assessment.

Once you’ve ironed out who will be conducting the Assessment, ensure you have the tools and resources necessary to collect information about your current HR function.

Specifically, ensure you have the following on hand:

This image and the text below list the tools and resources needed for an HR Assessment.Tools:

  • SurveyMonkey or an equivalent survey tool to gather anonymous information from your entire employee population or a predetermined subset of employees.
  • A video conferencing solution like Zoom for remote interviews, or physical meeting rooms to interview on-site stakeholders (i.e., the current HR team, members of management, employees, HR-related vendors, and Board members)
  • Access to relevant HR software, including a comprehensive HRIS, payroll systems, etc.


  • The employee handbook, if one exists
  • An organizational chart
  • A strategic plan
  • All documented employee policies and practices
  • Employee records, either paper or digital
  • Up-to-date job descriptions for each position

While this is not an exhaustive list, it does reflect the importance of taking an organized approach to HR. Clear records, organized systems for generating and storing them, and well-defined roles and departmental contacts will drastically simplify the process of conducting an HR Assessment when the need arises.

5. Review These 15 Key Questions for Your Assessment

An HR Assessment will cover a lot of ground, so it can be helpful to review some of the key questions that it will seek to answer:

  • Does your internal HR representative or team effectively manage all your HR needs?
  • Do current HR practices actively support organizational and departmental goals?
  • Do employees know who to go to for information and to have issues resolved in a timely manner?
  • Do your employees feel that HR meets their needs on a timely basis?
  • Are your recruiting, hiring, and termination practices compliant, fair, and equitable?
  • Does HR meet the recruiting needs of the organization?
  • Do your HR practices support DEI?

  • How effectively does HR onboard new hires?
  • What is the onboarding experience from the new hire’s perspective?
  • Does your organization have an effective performance management process in place?
  • Do employment documents and documentation protocols meet compliance, and how recently have they been updated?
  • Are organization charts and job descriptions up-to-date?
  • Does your organization have the technology to support record-keeping and other HR practices?
  • Is there a consistent understanding of technology that is available or is training needed?
  • Do current HR policies, programs, and practices reflect and support your organization’s mission and culture?

These are just a few of the questions and concerns that an HR Assessment will cover, and the exact scope of your own will vary based on the unique context of your business and your goals. However, these examples cover many of the essential categories to be kept in mind: employee policies, record keeping, safety, performance management, alignment of HR with organizational strategy, and more.

6. Collect Information and Conduct a Thorough Analysis

Using the tools and resources listed above, as well as the list of questions, you’ll turn a critical eye to your HR practices, policies, and programs and collect data about how each one is functioning. Once you have all the facts in front of you, you’ll conduct a thorough analysis. Look for trends and patterns in what you consider to be your problem areas, but don’t forget to also closely examine the things that you feel are working well.

From there, you’ll identify your HR function’s strengths and weaknesses. To do so, you may find it helpful to compare your HR practices with industry standards or best practices you see working well at other organizations.

7. Use Assessment Results to Develop Recommendations and an Action Plan

Compare your HR department’s strengths and weaknesses to your HR needs and goals, as well as your organization’s larger goals and mission. This will help you create recommendations for improvement that are truly tailored to your organization and support its vision for the future.

For instance, you might recommend:

  • Developing a more comprehensive onboarding program that extends beyond the first three months of employment
  • Offering flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid or remote working options
  • Starting a career development program that provides employees with access to training sessions, workshops, and association memberships that support professional aspirations
  • Create an anonymous employee feedback system that allows individuals to share suggestions and concerns
  • Establish a recognition and rewards program that demonstrates how much your organization values its employees and their efforts

Go further by creating an action plan for these recommendations that outlines the specific steps, timelines, and key players needed to put the recommendations into play. You should establish clear reporting expectations so that you can monitor the improvement process.

8. Implement Positive Changes to Your HR Function

At this point, you and your team will put your action plan into play. As you do, monitor the implementation process and course-correct as needed.

Once all changes have been made, evaluate the success of your HR Assessment and the improvements by comparing them against your initial goals and needs.

RealHR Solutions: A Leading HR Assessment Provider

Looking for a partner for your HR Assessment? RealHR Solutions is a leading provider of HR Assessment services for for-profit and nonprofit organizations of all sizes.

Screenshot of the RealHR Solutions website homepageWhile every Assessment is unique, generally our process looks like this:

  1. Discussing the What, Why, When, and Who of conducting an Assessment, as well as the resources for conducting an Assessment, the resources available for doing so, and the importance of committing to the process and results
  2. Conducting interviews with stakeholders to gain feedback and insight into opportunities for improvement
  3. Surveying employees to expand the depth of feedback received
  4. Examining HR-related documents, policies, and practices for local, state, and federal compliance, as well as best practices
  5. Presenting a detailed report identifying opportunities for improvement and a roadmap prioritizing items that require immediate attention
  6. Providing ongoing support to assist in implementation plans

If you have questions about HR Assessments or want to discuss your needs, reach out to learn more. We can offer our expertise and point you in the right direction for successfully improving your organization’s approach to HR!

Click through to learn more about working with RealHR Solutions to get an HR Assessment.

Conducting an HR Assessment is essential for unlocking the full potential of your organization. By gaining a deeper understanding of your HR practices, identifying areas for improvement, and aligning them with your strategic goals, you pave the way for sustainable growth.

Want to keep learning about the world of HR? Check out these resources:

Click through to learn more about working with RealHR to assess your HR function.